Monday, June 8, 2009

School Supplies, Clothing, Vitamins, Monthly Donations, Webcomic

Salye tout moun (Hello Everyone),

A big Thank You to all of you who responded to help fund our food distribution program!

We have been able to purchase and distribute food sacks for the remainder of the school year, the end of June (photo).

As I have written before, Lakay Fondasyon, Starthrower's centre in Cap-Haitien, is busy year round, with the ongoing need for school supplies, vitamins, clothing and funding for programs (food, water, text refurbishing, water). Here are some of the things we need this summer, and things that we need year round. If you can help, please let us know.

Text Books
As soon as all school exams (konpoze) are finished, the students in Cap-Haitien will return their text books to the center. In Sen Rafayel, Claudy and Fabiola will collect texts and travel by tap tap then taxi to bring those texts to the center in Cap.

Rosenie (overseen by Auguste, our manager) will be responsible for our text book refurbishing program: She will hire part-time staff, purchase any supplies needed to repair the texts, then set up work stations for the staff. It's quite a production line, and the workers are thrilled to have a part time job to help support their families. Auguste will prepare and distribute salaries.

At the same time (July, August), every student we support will be coming in with their final report card or a request for money: Many schools charge a fee to release final report cards, money the students usually do not have. Those students with 'ajoune' (borderline grades) will begin studying at the center, often with tutors, to prepare for their rewrite exams in August.

School Supplies, Clothing, Vitamins
While Starthrower looks for ways to support the local economy, and spend donations on goods rather than on shipping, customs and exise, we do realize that some of you are more comfortable (or find it more productive) to collect and ship actual goods and supplies. Of course that is fine, and we are grateful for all help!

If you are able to or prefer to help by collecting and sending school supplies, please let us know which supplies, and the quantity. Ideally, if school and hygiene supplies were being sent on a regular basis year round, we could avoid the panic and scramble which til now has been our modus operandi. And it is reassuring to our staff in Haiti, who can better plan the distribution items and amounts when they know that replacements are being shipped.

Like most charities, we realize the benefits of monthly donations and for a regular supply of recurring items such as school supplies, vitamins, sunscreen, etc. When shipments are coming in on a regular basis, we have on hand the necessary supplies for emergency responses.

Last September (2008), several hurricanes devasted much of north Haiti, and many of our students' homes and therefore their school supplies were destroyed. We didn't have any reserve supplies to replace them, so the students went without a backpack for the 2008-2009 school year. And it is now hurricane season in Haiti.

Here is a list of some needed items:

School Supplies
  • At least 125 backpacks and pencil cases
  • pens, erasers, pencil sharpeners
  • running shoes (new only)
  • (Note: No pencils please. Pencils can be bought in Haiti)

Personal Care, Health
  • toothpaste and toothbrushes
  • bar soap, face cloths and towels
  • sanitary napkins
  • multivitamins, vitamin C
  • (NB Clothing can be bought in Haiti)

We are also hoping the new shipping company CAS Xpress (see last blog post) proves to be a reliable delivery source. Ideally, items shipped by mid July should arrive in time for packing and delivering in mid-August.

In addition to the ongoing need for funds for our operating expenses in Haiti (rent, salaries, supplies), and programs (food distribution, texts), there is also a need for funds to pay for our students' medical and dental care as needed.

Graphic artist Daniel La France, of Toronto (, contacted us a few months ago with a fund raising initiative: He would create what is known as a webcomic based on Starthrower and our work in Haiti. Dan traveled to Orangeville to look at my Haiti photos that would form the basis for his artwork. I will let you know when the webcomic is online.

Help Needed Packing, Shipping in Orangeville
Unfortunately post-surgical complications and upcoming surgery (#3) will keep me from to Haiti this summer, as I had hoped. I do however, have some supplies here in Orangeville waiting to be packed and shipped, and I would welcome some help with this task. They will do more good in Haiti than here in Canada. Any students in need of volunteer hours?

If anyone is traveling from the south Ontario area to Florida this summer, and can deliver a few boxes to the shipping company in Ft. Lauderdale, then please get in touch with me.

Auguste emailed with some news which will have a positive impact on our ability to travel between Cap-Haitien and Sen Rafayel. I'll send you his news along with translation.

Thanks again for helping to keep alive the dreams of these young people!

Beni-w (blessings)

1 comment:

Starthower Founder said...

I was recently asked why we don't just give out a month's supply of food at a time.

Unfortunately, the rats, mice and cockroaches would feast on it as they chew through most storage containers the kids have.

There is also the temptation to eat everything the first week.


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